If there’s one thing in which “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” host Mike Rowe is well-versed, it’s knowing where the opportunity to work and make a steady living is.
So when some guy named “Chad” attempted to convince Rowe’s readers that the opportunities that Rowe was consistently speaking amounted to snake oil, Rowe made sure that Chad not only got his facts straight but that he was made more self-aware about the reasoning behind his positions.
“I always see these articles saying there is a shortage of construction trade workers, but everywhere I go I see hundreds of them unemployed,” wrote Chad. “There is definitely no shortage of these workers, there’s just a shortage of people willing to work for sub-par poverty wages. That’s why these Mike Rowe types want to flood the labor market. Don’t believe any of that sh*t if you read it.”
Rowe began by putting Chad’s penchant for generalized certainty into light:
You appear to be a man of certainty. You favor words like “always,” “definitely,” and “everywhere.” That’s fine by me. I’m curious though – have you actually been “everywhere?” Or do you only frequent places populated with unemployed construction workers who refuse to work because the pay is too low? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, what possible reason do you think I might have for wanting to “flood the labor market?
Then Rowe laid down the facts to prove that Chad’s assertions were far less than accurate:
It’s true – I often post about opportunities in the skilled trades, but unlike your claims, mine are easy to verify. According to the BLS, 6.3 million jobs are currently available – the vast majority of which do NOT require a four-year degree. Many of those jobs exist in construction. I’m not making this up, Chad. It’s right there in black and white. So too, is the amount of college debt currently on the books – 1.5 trillion dollars. A rather tidy sum, considering half of those who borrow money for tuition don’t even graduate.
Obviously, I’m aware that some people refuse to work because they believe the pay is too low. People like that exist in every industry, and the construction trades are no different. But that doesn’t mean that low wages are the reason 6.3 million jobs are currently vacant. The fact is, starting salaries in the skilled trades rival or exceed those of many more popular careers.
Rowe informed Chad that his take on the labor market is very shallow, calling Chad the “blind man” that “touches the tusk of an elephant and then goes around telling the world that all elephants are made of solid ivory.”
“But unlike you, I’ve touched the whole elephant,” wrote Rowe. “I’ve been to every state multiple times, spoken directly to hundreds of employers, and put my money where my mouth is. And my conclusion is this – while the work is often demanding, and the conditions sometimes inhospitable, the opportunities in the skilled trades have never been better. I know hundreds of people who began by mastering a trade, and went on to prosper. I can name them, Chad. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last ten years.”
Rowe admitted that his highlighting of success stories doesn’t make him all knowing, but it does give him far more experience in the matter than Chad. Furthermore, Rowe noted that it gives him permission to solidly ask the question as to what Chad’s motivation for attempting to throw solid work under the bus is about.
“But it does give me permission to ask – respectfully and in all seriousness – what is it you hope to accomplish by telling people that opportunity is dead? In other words, what is YOUR agenda?” asked Rowe.
The moral of this story is that the Chad’s of the world seem to have a very pessimistic view of the opportunities here in America despite the fact that we’re shown — in no small part by Rowe himself — that there is currently a lot of money just sitting on the ground so long as you’re willing to do what’s necessary to bend down and pick it up. Chad likes to think that he’s seen a few of the negative examples and proceeded to use those to paint his worldview.
Rowe has a very large picture and sees opportunity. Chad sees a small version of events and chooses to see hopelessness, and reacts with a bit of misplaced anger.
Don’t be like Chad.